By JERRY BEACH
NEW YORK (AP) — Tylor Megill and the New York Mets bullpen kept throwing and throwing, the crowd growing louder with every toss.
A 159-pitch gem, it was.
Megill and four relievers combined on the first no-hitter of the Major League Baseball season, teaming up to lead the Mets over the Philadelphia Phillies 3-0 Friday night.
“Just a really fun team moment,” said Mets first baseman Pete Alonso, who homered. “This is one of my all-time highlights, because, like, how often do you see a no-hitter? It’s like seeing a white buffalo or a unicorn.”
Megill started and was pulled after five innings and 88 pitches. The bullpen took over from there, with Drew Smith, Joely Rodríguez, Seth Lugo and Edwin Díaz completing the second no-hitter in Mets history.
Johan Santana threw the Mets’ only previous no-hitter on June 1, 2012, when he struck out eight and needed 134 pitches in an 8-0 win over the St. Louis Cardinals. This was the Mets’ 9,588th game, including postseason, since becoming an expansion team in 1962.
Per Baseball-Reference.com, these 159 pitches were the most thrown in a no-hitter. Six Houston Astros pitchers threw 151 pitches in their no-hitter against the Yankees in 2003.
“Team game,” Megill said.
“I’m ecstatic. It’s crazy. First one I’ve been part of.”
All the relievers before Díaz said they didn’t know they were working on a combined no-hitter. Rodríguez said he was getting treatment in the ninth inning when he realized what was happening.
“Ninth inning, one out, I checked the TV and said ‘What? Zero?’” Rodriguez said as McCann exchanged a fist bump with Diaz on a podium in the Mets’ interview room. “I said, ‘Hey, give me five minutes, I have to go out.’”
With the crowd of 32,416 standing and chanting “Let’s go, Mets,” Díaz finished it off in style, striking out Bryce Harper, Nick Castellanos and J.T. Realmuto in the ninth — all of them swinging.
“You start paying attention about the sixth, seventh inning — you start hearing the crowd getting into it, realizing there’s a chance for something special,” catcher James McCann said.
“Especially with multiple guys. If it’s with one guy, you’re on the same page all night. But trying to get on the same page with a lot of guys, it’s definitely special to be able to share it with so many people,” he said.
Mets pitchers combined to fan 12 and walk six, including Kyle Schwarber three times. He stole second base in the fifth — the only time a Phillies player got beyond first base.
“We hit a couple balls hard but that was about it,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said. “(Megill) threw about 45 pitches (actually 43) in the first two innings, it looked like maybe we could get him on the ropes. But we just never did.”
Mets center fielder Brandon Nimmo made the best defensive play, running to make a diving catch on Jean Segura’s sinking liner in right-center to end the third.
“I didn’t really notice (the no-hitter) until like the sixth inning,” Nimmo said. “I looked back to check the count and the score and where I should play and I saw the zero next to their team. And I was like, ‘Oh no, all right, we’ve got one going.’”
The Mets poured on to the field and mobbed Díaz after the final out as a graphic picturing the five pitchers with the words “BLACK OUT” showed on the scoreboard.
It was the 17th combined no-hitter in history and the first since the Milwaukee Brewers’ Corbin Burnes and Josh Hader teamed up to no-hit Cleveland last Sept. 11.
A year ago, there were a record nine no-hitters in the majors.
Last weekend, six Tampa Bay Rays pitchers combined to carry a no-hit bid into the 10th inning of a scoreless game against the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox broke up the no-hitter and scored twice in the top of the 10th but the Rays came back to win 3-2. By official MLB rules, it did not count as a no-hitter because Rays pitchers didn’t end the game allowing no hits.
This was the first no-hitter against the Phillies since Josh Beckett pitched one for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2014.
Megill (4-0) struck out five and walked three in his 23rd major league start.
“(Megill) threw close to 90 pitches in five innings, that was plenty,” said Mets skipper Buck Showalter, who managed a no-hitter for the first time since Jim Abbott’s gem for the New York Yankees against Cleveland n 1993. “What a job the rest of the guys did against a really good hitting lineup, too. It’s fun to watch.”
Smith got four outs, Rodriguez got three and Lugo recorded the last two outs in the eighth before Díaz took over for his fourth save.
Jeff McNeil hit a two-run single in the fifth off Aaron Nola (1-3). Pete Alonso homered with two outs in the sixth.
Showalter said he and Mets players had a good give-and-take during their meeting Friday with MLB executive vice president of baseball operations Morgan Sword and former big league pitcher Dan Otero.
The meeting was scheduled for last week but was delayed when Showalter underwent a medical procedure April 20. The two sides convened two days after the Mets — whose players entered Friday having been hit by pitches 19 times, the most in the majors — and St. Louis Cardinals engaged in a benches-clearing skirmish after New York’s Yoan Lopez threw up and in on Nolan Arenado a half-inning after J.D. Davis was hit in the ankle by a Genesis Cabrera offering.
“We had our pitchers in there and some position players — we got all aspects of it,” Showalter said. “Morgan presented some things that (players) may not have known about and (players) presented some things. That’s how you make good decisions: You listen to the people that are actually throwing the baseball and hitting the baseball and you listen to the people who are doing all the work to improve our game.”
Mets: Davis (left ankle) was available off the bench. “So far so good,” Showalter said. “There wasn’t a need for some more imaging. It’s improved.”
Phillies: RHP Kyle Gibson (2-1, 3.47 ERA) is looking to win his second straight start after earning the victory against the Colorado Rockies on Monday.
Mets: RHP Taijuan Walker (0-0, 0.00 ERA) is expected to be activated from the injured list. He was shelved with right shoulder bursitis on Apr. 12, one day after tossing two perfect innings against the Phillies in his season debut.
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